Motley Crue bassist and original Hollywood hellraiser
Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx talks to Clash about near death experiences, giving something back and groupies getting younger to mark the release of his brutally honest memoirs and accompanying soundtrack, ‘The Heroin Diaries’.

MÖTLEY CRÜE WAS A TOUR DE FORCE
We were this little band in Hollywood, who used to drink, fight, rape and pillage! Then, all of a sudden, we became worldwide. To us, Hollywood was the same as Denmark, which was the same as England, which was the same as anywhere in the world. It was just another place to destroy. Mötley Crüe would walk into the arena and the fucking sea would part, we were like the Hell’s Angels. We’d get on stage and there was always this anticipation. Everyone would be like, "What’s going to happen? Is this the last time they’re gonna play together? Is someone gonna die tonight? Are there gonna be orgies in eight different rooms?" You never knew when it was going to blow up and that energy, that rub, created really cool music. The best thing about the band was also the worst.

DRUG ADDICTS OVERDOSE. IT’S WHAT WE DO, WE OVERDO IT
I’ve overdosed about half a dozen times. Someone usually snapped me out of it, but the last time I was pretty much gone. That was the turning point for me. I’ve been clean for 20 years now. My drug problem was a private hell. I feel bad for people like Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie - they’re probably not doing a tenth of what we did but because they’re in this ‘celebrity culture’, the eye’s on them and they get caught out. Mötley Crüe were more of an underbelly and we could get away with it.

HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
I think that makes me more rock ‘n’ roll, because I’m closer to the core feeling that drives the music. Let’s take all the crap away, what’s the core fucking issue? Right from the get go in Mötley Crüe, we’d say to interviewers, "We fucked 10 chicks last night and did an ounce of cocaine, sorry we’re two hours late." We’ve never pulled our punches and we’ve always told the truth. That’s what’s important to me about the book and the soundtrack – it’s so brutally honest. It doesn’t paint me beautifully, it’s not the memoir that says ‘Woe is me, I was a millionaire and I had a drug problem…’ The idea behind it was for me to say, ‘Here’s a time in my life, here’s a bunch of people that were in my life at the time and I’ll let them talk about it very honestly.’ You know, ‘Nikki was an asshole’, ‘He was a fucking dictator’, ‘He was a problem’. Or, ‘He was wonderful’, ‘He was a genius’. Whatever they want to say.

THE CHILD MAKETH THE MAN
1986-87 was the worst time of my life; I was in a downward spiral. What got me there was all the stuff that happened to me when I was a kid. Psychologically I can look back and say that caused me to feel unloved, unwanted, unrooted and then those feelings manifested into teenage angst. If I’d never had those early experiences, I never would’ve written albums like ‘Shout At The Devil’. The bitterness and the pissed off-ness mixed with my natural creativity, produced something that would never have been created otherwise. So in a way, it was a great thing.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS
That’s a great saying. People say it when something bad is happening, but I say it when something good is happening too. It makes you appreciate the good stuff at the time.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS TO BE SPIRITUAL
Anybody that tells me if I don’t go to a building I’m going to Hell makes me not want to go into that building. I look at Buddhism and say ‘I like that’, and there are parts of Judaism I like. You can do all this wonderful stuff in your life, you can still be crazy and you can still look wild and have style. It’s such a great time now - you can have it all.

LIFE IS AN ART PROJECT
I’m more of an artist than I am a rock star, I always have been. That’s what was exciting about creating the book and soundtrack together - it was this huge art project. The idea behind it was to share the experience and then move on, close that chapter. I’m also giving some of the profits to a charity for at risk children. It’s my way of saying music saved me, so let me do something and help somebody else out.

THE GROUPIE MENTALITY IS PRETTY INTERESTING
As I get older my eyesight’s going bad, I don’t know what I’m in for until they come backstage and they’re very large with missing teeth. You go to the bigger cities and you get the silicone breasts, the bleach blonde hair and the super skinny tight pants, which is attractive… until they talk. Now I’m single, I don’t understand why all the girls that are attracted to me are so young. It’s kinda cool though, I’m mkinda liking it!

YOU EVENTUALLY BECOME YOUR PARENTS
I have four kids. My 13-year old daughter came downstairs last week wearing something I don’t even want to describe… she looked 20. I said, "Where are you going?" and she said, "I’m going to meet a boy on the corner."And I said, "Not dressed like that you’re not!" I suddenly thought, ‘What the fuck just happened to me?!’ Lets just say karma’s a bitch! Did I let her go out? No!

IF YOU WANNA LIVE LIFE ON YOUR TERMS, YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO CRASH AND BURN
By that I mean whatever you want to do, you have to be prepared for the outcome not being the way you think it’s going to be. You’ve got to be willing to not achieve your goal, just let go of the expectation and go for it. My regrets are only the ones I haven’t been able to make amends for, where I haven’t been able to say, ‘I’m sorry I treated you like that’. I think everything you do makes you into who you are. Everybody makes mistakes; it’s an evolution. I got to wake up today in London, England and I was a kid in Idaho staring at Aerosmith posters and listening to Deep Purple on little speakers… I went from Ida-fucking-ho to doing interviews talking about my life 30 years later... it’s fucking crazy! I can’t wait to see what the next 40 years are going to bring.

Words by Rachael Wright
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